Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Paul Goodrum

Second Advisor

Jon Elliott

Third Advisor

Matthew Hallowell

Fourth Advisor

Keith Molenaar

Fifth Advisor

Tim Taylor


The construction industry currently faces several challenges in areas of workforce development that can hamper its sustainability and growth. Several studies have documented shortage of skilled craft workers in construction. Most construction firms in 2017 reported that growing workforce shortages in construction have made it difficult to find qualified workers. They expected the workforce shortage would continue to be a challenge in the near future. The shortage has worsened to the point that it is not only hard to find quality craft workers, but it is affecting projects’ schedule, cost, and safety. Part of this problem is because younger people are not so much eager to enter the industry and work in technical occupations. Moreover, some skilled workers exit the industry. It seems that the workforce development system, which is responsible for training, recruitment, and retention of skilled workforce, does not fully address the industry demand. This study, I try to shed light on workforce development system from both micro and macro perspective.

From a micro perspective, it focuses on the career decision-making process of both the future and the current workforce. Using Theory of Planned Behavior, I want to understand what factors influencing young people to choose a career as craft workers in construction. For the current workforce, I am interested to determine the motivational factors influencing people decision to stay in the industry and quantify their relative strengths. The results of this study can help construction firms to improve their recruitment and retention policies and practices.

From macro perspective, a panel of industry experts involved with workforce development helped the research team to investigate strengths and weaknesses of the system. Intensive literature review and archival data analysis helped to gain more in-depth understanding of the situation. Through several panel discussions and using Analytical Hierarchy Process methodology, I identified and prioritized potential policies to overcome the challenges. The policies recommended by this research could outline the major steps to initiate the path to make the U.S. workforce development system a global example.